Jewelry Care and Cleaning Guide: How To Care and Protect Your Jewelry

Celebrating a Special Occasion with Jewelry!

Jewelry Care means being careful, how you store and and clean it!

How to care and protect Jewelry?

If your jewelry has value to you, it is valuable enough for you to want to take care of it. Jewelry Care means being careful you do no lose it as well as being careful how you store and clean it.

When you buy jewelry, any jewelry, from the most expensive fine jewelry to inexpensive costume jewelry, you buy it because it is beautiful. The gleam of the metal and the shine or luster and fire of the gems appeal to your aesthetic sense of beauty, based on what you can afford. The better the jewelry, the longer you want to wear it, perhaps even for rest of your life, and the longer you want it to have that like new glow, although some metals and finishes attain a warm patina with wear. What you don’t want, however, is scratched or gouged settings and dull gems. Accidents can happen, but all too often the jewelry is damaged by carelessness or not taking the few moments necessary to tend to the jewelry.

In most cases, being careful is the only care jewelry needs. Some types of jewelry, nevertheless, need special care because the gems may be soft, absorbent, or fragile.

Keep in mind that the harder the gem and the higher it is on the Mohs scale of hardness, the more durable it generally is. At time, a hard gem with high or distinct cleavage is apt to be fragile and may break or cleave if it is struck at the right angle. Hardness therefore is not synonymous with toughness. A tough gem may be soft enough to be more easily scratched but it is less apt to break or shatter. These characteristics have pertinence in wearing, cleaning, and storing jewelry, and in remodeling.

Metals have similar characteristic. The purer the silver and gold, the more easily it can be damaged. Also, you must consider the combination of metal in settings with gem or gems. What may be perfectly good to clean a metal, such as sterling silver, may not be the best for the gems. You have to consider the jewelry as a whole, not as simply metal or gems.

These point are tied in with the third point: the care you take with your jewelry to protect it from loss, both when you are wearing it and when you put it away for safekeeping. All the care in cleaning and storing will not matter if you lose the jewelry. The care you should take in this sense involves the precautions you would take to make sure you do not lose something you like and enjoy. That common sense, and it is common sense whether or not the jewelry is insured, and whether or not it is valuable. The precautions you should take with any jewelry that you like and that means anything to you, in fact, are simple common sense.

– Protection of jewelry

First of all, think about what you do when wearing jewelry. Rings are good example of how common sense can prevent loss.

More Rings are probably lost through carelessness than any other type of jewelry, because they are more apt to be taken off when being worn than pins or necklaces, bracelets or even earrings. So, Precaution Number One, if you wear rings, is to wear them at all times, or be careful with them as you are with your money and credit cards.

Men and women, incidentally, tend to regard rings differently.

– Storing and cleaning jewelry

When you take jewelry off, all jewelry and not only rings, what do you do with it? First, you should have a good and safe place for it. Second, that place should keep the jewelry safe not only from loss but also from damage.

The worst place you can put it is in a jewelry box already filled with other jewelry all jumbled together, where it can become scratched or more seriously hurt. The best place you can put jewelry is in individual leather or cloth cases or bags that will protect each piece from being damaged by other pieces of jewelry. If you do not have separate boxes from the jeweler for each piece of jewelry, at least put each piece in an individual case of some kind and do not drop it casually into a jewelry box.

In most cases, a plastic bag is a good substitute for leather or cloth. Plastic, however, should never be used with pearls, opals, and ivory, which need air to retain their beauty. Plastic, nevertheless, does have an advantage for other jewelry in that you can easily see the piece of jewelry that is in the bag. This method, incidentally, is also good for costume jewelry, which can be scratched as easily, if not more so, than precious jewelry.

Cleaning is also important in retaining and restoring the beauty and luster of jewelry with and without gems. Even gold can discolor from soaps and perspiration. Silver can be especially prone to tarnish, although almost all American sterling silver jewelry is coated with rhodium, an element of platinum, to prevent tarnishing. Any other silver that is worn all the time rarely needs polishing either, since wear retards tarnish. It still may need cleaning, though.

In fact, any metal may need cleaning now and then to remove dirt, soil, or soap film, as may gems. There are, in general, four methods of cleaning jewelry. Although all are safe for cleaning precious metal and diamonds, all are not interchangeable and safe for all kinds of jewelry. These are the methods most commonly suggested and used, but be sure to read further for the exceptions and for the precautions you should take with specific metals and gems.

-Detergents Bath. Mix a mild detergent and warm water in a small bowl or cup. Immerse the jewelry, brushing the pieces with an eyebrow brush. Rinse the jewelry under warm running water, being sure to put the jewelry into a tea strainer or cheesecloth for safety’s sake. Pat dry with lintels cloth. Do not use for soft gems or foe any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

– Cold water soak. In a cup or bowl, combine half cold water and half household ammonia. Put the jewelry in and soak for 30 minutes. Do not leave it overnight or for a long period of time. After 30 minutes, remove the jewelry and gently clean the front and back of the setting, if necessary, with an eyebrow brush before swishing the jewelry in the solution again and draining it dry on tissue. Do not use soft gems or any jewelry that is strung, such as ivory or pearls.

– Quick dip. Commercial jewelry cleaners generally employ the quick dip method. Since cleaners vary, you should read instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. Do not use cleaners on nay jewelry not specifically mentioned unless you check with a jeweler first.

– Ultrasonic cleaners. You will find several of these small machines on the market. In general, the principle is that of using high frequency turbulence to clean jewelry soaking in a metal cup of water and detergent. Again, be sure to read and follow the directions with the utmost care and do not use the machine on any jewelry not specifically mentioned. Not all jeweler, feel these machine are safe even for diamonds. Before buying one, therefore, be sure to check with your jeweler and get his advice.

These then are the common methods in general. Specific metals, and gems, require specific care. The methods described below are safe for the specific metals and won’t harm most gems. Keep in mind, though, that some gems need special care. Whenever you have any doubt about cleaning jewelry, be sure to consult your jeweler.

1) Copper

Copper will tarnish like silver in presence of moisture and sulfur. In most cases, however, a lacquer is baked on to prevent the jewelry from tarnishing. To clean copper, use any commercial cleaner that specifies it safe for copper. Do not use ammonia, which can erode copper.

2) Gold

The lower the number of karats, the more gold will discolor due to the higher percentage of base metals in the alloy. Mild soap, water and ammonia will remove the discoloration with ease.
One theory goes that you can prevent gold from leaving black mark on the skin by spraying the gold with hair spray. All you actually doing is adding a substance that can add to the tarnish. Keeping gold clean is the best way to avoid skin discoloration. In any case do not use hair spray on any gold with gems.

Gold-filled. Remember, the character of gold filled jewelry is the same as the karat gold that makes up 1/20 of the total weight, except that the jewelry will not last as long as the same jewelry in solid karat gold. Gold-filled jewelry can be cleaned the same way as karat gold, with mild soap, and a drop of ammonia.

Rolled gold plate. Rolled gold plate may contain less gold than rolled gold, but it should be cleaned the same way as gold-filled and karat gold jewelry.

Gold electroplate. Although the layer of gold deposited by electroplating may be 7 to 100 millionths of an inch thick, good gold electroplate can wear as well as rolled gold. It should be wiped clean regularly with a damp, soft cloth, and a mild soap and water solution may be used to remove any makeup. Do not use a treated cloth to clean gold electroplate.
Gold-washed or gold-flashed. Jewelry finished in this manner contains very little gold. The surface layer, in fact, is so thin that it may be negligible and wear off after a few times of being worn. Any cleaning, and particularly any rubbing, any remove the finish entirely.

3) Silver

Any commercial silver cleaner or silver cloth will touch up and clean silver jewelry. Soap, water, and a drop of ammonia will also clean silver that is very lightly tarnished or may just need cleaning to remove makeup and perspiration.

Silver-filled. Clean silver-filled jewelry in the same way as sterling. The older the jewelry, however, the more permanent the patina will be. Such a patina cannot be removed.

Silver plate (or silver electroplate). Silver plate, unlike gold, can last for years and can be cleaned in the same way as sterling silver. It can be re-plated, if necessary, although re-plating is more common in silver tableware than in jewelry.

4) Combination metals

Metals, including precious metals, are sometimes combined with other metals and with enamel. Be very careful in cleaning the metal that you don’t clean off the inlay or enamel. The same caution holds true for vermeil, which is sterling silver with karat gold electroplate. If you must rub, rub very gently with soft cloth.

5) Gems

Some gems need special care. That care includes both cleaning and storing gems. Be particularly careful with:

Amber. Amber is the softest of all gems and will be scratched by all other gems. Be careful in wearing it and always store it by itself. It darkens gradually with age and exposures to light and should be kept in a cloth or leather bag case.

Never use a rough clothe or clothe that may have dirt, dust, or grit on it to clean amber because of its softness. Never use acid to clean amber or wear amber when working with acids since acid will decompose amber. Alcohol and other solvents do not normally affect amber, however, unless it is exposed to them for a long period of time. For this reason, be careful not to leave amber in any cleaning solution, except very briefly. Hair spray and perfume can also affect amber.

Coral. Coral is relatively tough. Be careful with twig coral in both storing and wearing, since the thinner the twigs the more easily the coral can break. Remember, coral is not a mineral and its luster may be spoiled by preparations used to clean other jewelry.

Diamonds. Diamonds should be kept apart from other gems to avoid scratching the other gems. This rule holds true for both storage and cleaning. One expert suggests boiling diamonds for 10 minutes in soap, water, and ammonia to clean them.

Ivory. Wash ivory carefully in soapy water, drying it with a damp cloth. Never soak ivory in soap and water, however, since soaking can cause it to crack or break. If you are cleaning ivory beads, do not get the string wet because the string will stay wet and can affect the beads. Do not use commercial jewelry cleaner or acid.

Ivory darken with age. It can be bleached by sunlight or peroxide. If peroxide is used, do not soak the ivory in it, and avoid wetting any string with which ivory beads are strung with the peroxide.
Keep in mind that ivory is permeable and relatively soft, factors tending to make it contract or shrink in cold and expand in heat. The combination of temperatures, along with soaking and drying out, can lead to the cracking of the ivory. Wiping it carefully with a soft, damp cloth, therefore, is probably the best method of cleaning ivory.

Jet. Jet, although tough, is soft and should never be kept with other jewelry that can scratch it. Scratching diminishes its polish and lessens its value to collectors.

Lapis Lazulli. Despite its softness, Lapis Lazulli wears well and is popular for men’s jewelry and especially men’s rings. Even though it may scratch, the scratches are not difficult for a good jeweler to polish out.

Malachite. Malachite is soft and is not tough like jet. It breaks easily and should be worn with care. It also scratches easily, losing its polish. Be careful wearing it next to your skin, which can turn malachite dark or black.

Moonstone. Moonstone’s softness means that it needs care. Moonstones should be kept by themselves and cleaned carefully with only a very soft cloth and soap and water.

Opals. All kinds of opals are fragile and require care, the most care of any other gem. The polished stones are usually thin and may crack or craze. One cause may be extremely cold weather, indirect sunlight, in hot dishwater, or when handling frozen foods. Cold weather may also cause opals to shrink, which means they can fall out of the setting. Because of their softness, they are easily scratched and may absorb dirt or grit, another reason for avoiding dishwater and being careful in cleaning them.
Opals contain water, sometimes as much as 10%. Thus, they may dry out. For this reason, some experts suggest leaving them in water, in a mixture of water and glycerin, or in mineral oil to keep them from drying out and losing their fire, whenever they are not being worn. Use only a mild soap solution and a soft cloth to clean them. Never put opals in plastic bags, commercial jewelry cleaner, or acid.

Pearls. Both Oriental and cultured pearls are genuine pearls and need a certain amount of special care. Cosmetics (including hair spray), dust, dirt, and particularly perspiration can affects pearls. They should be wiped carefully only with a soft clothe after wearing and kept in satin-lined box, never in a plastic bag. Because their softness, cars should be taken not to scratch them. Pearls need to be worn and allowed to breathe. Do not use commercial jewelry cleaner or acid to clean them.

Peridot. Peridot scratches easily and tends to lose its polish. It should be stored and worn carefully but no special cleaning is necessary.

Topaz. Topaz should be kept in dark, literally. The gems tend to fade or pale in light, and some yellow-brown topazes on display in museums have turned clear after several years. Remember, too, it cleaves easily. It does not require special cleaning methods.

Turquoise. Since turquoise is very porous, it will absorb all sorts of impurities, especially if it is exposed to dirt and grease, such as in working in the yard or in washing dishes.

Turquoise tends to change color with age. It may lighten, darken, or streak. According to an old wives’ tale, burying turquoise in dirt restore the color, but the advice does not say for how long or what amount of dirt might be absorbed. You are probably better off learning to appreciate the change in color.

Never expose turquoise to ammonia, which will spoil the surface by pitting or spotting. Jewelry cleaner and acid will also injure or destroy turquoise.

To sum up, one of best methods of cleaning jewelry is simply to use mild soap, water and a drop of ammonia, even though ammonia should not be used with certain gems. Commercial jewelry cleaners are also available at fine jewelers, and these are safe, too, for most, but not all, jewelry. Be surer to read the directions on any commercial cleaner carefully and to follow them.

When in doubt about cleaning any jewelry, ask your jeweler what he would suggest. Remember, a watchmaker is not a jeweler. For expert advice and help, you need a jeweler who knows metal and gems, because in some cases you may be better off bringing the jewelry into the jeweler’s for cleaning.

Selling Your Jewelry and Getting the Most For It

Selling Your Jewelry: Triumph or Tragedy?

Which is more fun, getting a root canal, paying your taxes, or selling your jewelry? Not much of a choice, but following is some knowledge that can take the frustration out of selling your jewelry. And answer the hard questions like: Will I receive a fair price for my jewelry? Or did I pay too much?

The two critical areas of knowledge to get the best price for your jewelry are the factors that determine the value of estate jewelry and the options to liquidating it. Does this mean you have to become a gemologist just to sell your jewelry? No. But some homework and note taking can mean a much higher price paid for your jewelry. Let’s start with what determines the value of estate jewelry.

Estate is a general term used to describe previously owned. That fact is one of the determining factors. Preowned jewelry by in large is not as valuable as new. Some people will never buy a previous owned engagement set for superstitious reasons. I have had clients who could have saved hundreds of dollars if they would have bought a preowned ring, but refused.

Jewelry is a style driven industry. Some styles are classic and stay around for decades, others last just a few months. Estate jewelry that is out of style can’t command premium price. In fact some styles are so out of favor that the jewelry’s only value is its intrinsic worth. The other extreme is that the jewelry could be antique. Antique jewelry is highly collectible and may require a specialty option to sell. Knowing if your jewelry is just old and out of style or an antique can mean the difference of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Condition is a major determining factor of the price received for your jewelry. Damaged and broken jewelry many times justify the restoration costs but most of the time damaged jewelry is only valued at its intrinsic worth. Jewelry repair in many instances is counter-intuitive. I have seen jewelry that has been mangled in such a way that the cost of restoration is minor and easily justified. On the other hand what appeared to be an insignificant problem rendered the jewelry unrestorable. Jewelry repair is one area you don’t want to be a “do it yourselfer”. Let the professionals do it, or it could end up costing you a ton of money.

Worn out jewelry impacts the value. It is a difficult repair to bring life back into a piece of jewelry. Most worn out jewelry is valued at its intrinsic worth.

Jewelry looks it’s best when cleaned. Properly clean your jewelry before showing it around. If you do not know the 100% correct way to clean your piece of jewelry let a professional jeweler clean it for you. Some jewelry stores may even clean it for free. Warning: the wrong cleaning can damage and even destroy jewelry. If your are unsure of how to clean the jewelry or gem, let the professionals do it.

Here are some cleaning tips. Never clean gold and gems in chlorine. Ammonia based cleaning products are used throughout the jewelry industry, but they can damage some gems. Try and avoid them if you can and know for certain if they well not hurt the gems in your jewelry. Use a mild soap with warm water and a soft toothbrush, then rinse thoroughly for most jewelry. A hard toothbrush and toothpaste or toothpowder will scratch gold and hurt some gems. The best cleaning tip is to know for certain the best cleaners to use on your jewelry and do it carefully.

The jewelry industry has been recycling for millennia. In fact some of the gold in your jewelry could have been in use since the time of Jesus. Damaged beyond repair jewelry is bought at its intrinsic worth. The intrinsic value is the metal (gold, platinum, silver) price plus any gems. The refining process used to recover the metal utilizes strong chemicals and has strict environmental regulations which impact the price given for metal brought to be recycled.

If you would like to know how to calculate the metal price and do the math read on, if not skip to next paragraph. The formula used to calculate the price is the metal price(the daily spot price) multiplied by purity(the true noble metal content) times weight(can be in ounces, pennyweights or grams). The purity is the karat of gold or percentage of noble metal (gold, platinum, silver). 24 karat is pure. 10 karat is 10/24 or.410 gold and the balance of weight is the alloys. 14 karat is 14/24 or.583 gold and 18 karat is 18/24 or.750 gold. Platinum most of the time is 90% pure and 10% alloy. Silver jewelry is usually sterling, which is.925 pure. The three units of weight used with precious metals are troy ounces, pennyweights, and grams. The troy ounce is equal to 20 pennyweights (dwt) or 31.15 grams. So here is an example; say the spot price of gold is $300 and a 14K ring weighing 10 grams would work out like this. $300 (spot price) X.583 (the fineness of gold) equals $174.90 per ounce divided by 31.15 (troy ounce to gram) equals $5.63 per gram times our ring of 10 grams equals $56.30. Just remember to subtract some refining cost and profit for the dealer and you can find out the intrinsic metal value for your jewelry.

Gems are an important part of jewelry. The estate jewelry value could be 99% determined by the gem. On the other hand the gem could add zero to the value. The two critical factors are the gem itself and the condition. Some gems have a higher value then others. A natural ruby is worth many times more then a synthetic ruby. Diamonds are generally more valuable then amethysts. Knowing your gem’s grade and rarity will help with understanding its value. The condition of the gem is critical to the value. Some chips and abrasions can justify the repolishing cost. But in most cases chips and scratches will render the gem unappealing and valueless. Tip: careful handling of jewelry retains a higher value then carelessness.

The overview of the determining factors of estate jewelry is style, condition, and intrinsic worth. Remember you don’t get paid for the jewelry in relation to what you paid but the condition and demand when you sell. Clean jewelry shows the item at its best and helps in evaluating the design and gems.
How to find the best way to get the most return for the jewelry?

Selling estate jewelry is the art of compromise. There is a balance between dollar paid and quickness of payment and ease of transaction. If you want the high price, fast and easy, you are dreaming. The higher the price gained from the sale of estate jewelry, the longer the time and more difficult the transaction..

Finding another consumer to buy your jewelry is the most profitable but the most difficult, time consuming and problematic. Walking into a dealer’s shop is the easiest and fastest way to sell but you are selling at wholesale or less. Finding the balance is a personal judgement call.

Each method of selling estate jewelry has it strengths and liabilities. Besides the price received for the jewelry, the time investment you have to make to sell the jewelry enters the equation. What are your time and energy worth? I have known people who have driven around town for two days just to make $20 more. Don’t over look the ease of transaction. Not all people decide to buy and pay cash on the spot. Some individuals take two or three visits just to make up their mind to buy. There could also be a measure of trust in shipping the jewelry across the country or even a payment plan could be the only way a person could afford your jewelry. The balance of dollar paid versus method of payment can be very tricky.

This list of ways to sell estate jewelry is not exhaustive. Personal creativity can show you the best way to sell your jewelry or one the more traditional methods may work out just fine. Examine your options and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks to find the very best way to sell your estate jewelry.

Auctions are the prestigious way to sell estate jewelry. There is an air of sophistication in liquidating jewelry through a major auction house. The nationally known auction houses like Christie’s, Sotheby’s and the like have pricey set up costs and standards. High end jewelry is best suited for these auctions. There are many regional and local auction houses that can sell estate jewelry in the mid range. Auctions can be very risky, because the end price is unknown, but the risk can bring a very positive selling price. The keys to selling your estate jewelry at auctions are finding the right house for your particular jewelry, knowing the best time to sell, and luck.

On-line auctions offer a lot of advantages and some risks. On-line auctions like e-bay are auctions conducted over the internet reaching a world wide audience. The cost of selling an item is modest if the object sells. Sales are not guaranteed. Which on line auction to use is a critical choice. The large auctions have many offerings and sales but it is easy to get lost in all that activity. Selecting the best category is another challenge. If you choose a smaller on line auction company, many potential buyers will not find your offering. The decision is best made with research on how your particular type of jewelry was sold. E-mail and ask other sellers if they got the price they wanted and how the selling experience was for them.

The trickiest part of on-line auctions is the actual transaction. Who will trust whom first. Normally the buyer sends funds, then the seller sends the item. The seller must also give a period of time for the buyer to return the item for a full refund. The transaction can be problematic or smooth. May all your experiences be trouble free, but the transaction problems I have tracked seem to run between 20% and 35% of the attempts have problems.

Jewelry brokers offer a professional service for a fee. Think of a jewelry broker as a hired professional working for you against a very sophisticated market like the jewelry industry. Make sure their allegiance is to you alone. Most jewelry brokers are highly trained in gems and jewelry. Jewelry brokers charge a percentage ranging from 10% to 50% depending on the type of service provided. Brokers can assist with a piece going to a top auction house or find a local dealer willing to pay top dollar fast. Some jewelry brokers also act as a dealer and buy out right for an immediate transaction. Jewelry brokers are usually found in major cities and include a jewelry and diamond finding service.

Pawn shops and secondhand dealers are another type of walk-in and sell option. Most work on a cash evaluation of the jewelry. The cash value on most estate jewelry is a percentage of the intrinsic value. The key to understanding this buying environment is the percentage. Some dealers pay close to 90% of the intrinsic value, while others pay as low as 33%. The only way to find the best price is to physically take the jewelry around to a number of shops. Then sell to the shop that offers the best value.

Consignment offers the incentive of a higher price when sold but the draw back of time. No one knows how long it will take or even if it will sell. The stores that offer consignment range from second hand bargain stores to elite jewelry stores. The type of estate jewelry you have dictates which store will attempt to sell your jewelry. If you have a high end piece in excellent condition the elite location could yield a fine return.

Consignment generally consists of a contract for the amount the jewelry will sell for and the percentage the store will keep. Some contracts have a time limit and who is liable if it is lost or damaged. You must know the details of the contract to understand what will and will not happen. Some stores will pay immediately, others pay after a set time or when you call. Find out what the process is if the store closes or moves. Many people have lost track of their jewelry altogether. Understand what the store’s liabilities are and yours. Also, find out how the store is going to sell your jewelry. If they will advertise it or just let it sit in a showcase. Make frequent contacts to keep your jewelry in the mind of the salespeople.

Newspapers offer individuals the best chance to sell to a retail customer. The classified shopping consumer, in all likelihood, comparison shops more then anyone else. They know the prices of your jewelry new and will pay a discount for a used article of jewelry. Also realize that the prices asked for in the paper are rarely achieved and do not reveal the true market value. Some times the jewelry is sold for very much less then advertised or never sold at all. But with some safeguards and timing the classified ad is generally one of the highest prices realized for average estate jewelry.

The retail customer is the highest price you could receive for your estate jewelry. The newspaper is one of many ways to reach the buying public with your message to sell. Public bulletin boards offer a inexpensive way to reach people. Look in your community or work place for bulletin boards. On line bulletin boards could also work out if you find the right one. Net working with friends and family might give a lead to someone willing to buy. Creativity is a powerful tool in reaching the public. Use your imagination and think who would be willing to buy my particular estate jewelry and reach out to them.

Safeguards are critical when selling jewelry to the public. First NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, and NEVER meet an unknown buyer in your house. Personal safety and protection against robbery should be your first priority. If you don’t have a way to meet the potential buyer at a public place, then do not sell your jewelry to the general public. Meet the buyer in a public place like a restaurant or shopping mall. I suggest the buyer’s bank, because if they wish to buy the jewelry they can go and get the cash now and finish the transaction. In addition the bank should have some security if something goes bad.

Fraud should be next on your mind. Cash is the best transaction, checks of all kinds can be faked. Also be aware of switching of jewelry, con men are on the look out for unsuspecting people.

Some other safeguards are notifying someone of the time and place of your meeting. You can even tell them you will call after the meeting just to check in with someone. It is helpful to have a mobile phone. If you have a pager it is a good idea to give that number in the ad. You get a call back number and they can’t find your home address. It is also a good idea to go with someone else. I have met people with another person standing in the background just watching. Sometimes con men work in teams and someone looking at the whole situation can see that it is a bad situation in time to help you not get taken.

I’d like to make one final point: most of the world is filled with wonderful people and everything should go just fine. Trust your instincts. Keep diligent and alert. Don’t take risks just to make a little more on the sale of your estate jewelry.

Selling your estate jewelry is not an everyday experience. Enjoy the adventure and learn some new skills. One very positive side effect of selling jewelry is you will learn how to evaluate jewelry. You will become a very wise jewelry buyer. Enjoy the journey.

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

  • Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals
  • Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach
  • Make unpacking a one-time chore
  • Work well with land packages
  • Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach:

  • Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.
  • Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.
  • Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.
  • Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

  • Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose
  • Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone
  • Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach:

  • Provides you with a ready-made group
  • Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path
  • Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing
  • Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

  • Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path
  • Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations
  • Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more.

What Every Traveler Should Know About Making Hotel Reservations

There was a time when making hotel reservations was as simple as picking up the telephone & booking a room for a specific period of time. Depending on how your travels worked out, you would sometimes have the misfortune of having to book the same day & were hoping for the best, but all in all, booking a hotel room was not a big deal.

Boy, things have certainly changed! When the occasional hotel room “Booker” decides it’s time to make a reservation, the nervous perspiration starts. Palms get clammy, internal temperature starts to rise, and voices start cracking. The issue at hand is that we’re constantly bombarded by commercials on our airwaves telling us that we can find better deals by using technology. Online booking, booking apps, and email & text message alerts for price drops are now the way to book a hotel room not necessarily the right way but the smart way. Of course, no one wants to seem foolish, right?

To begin, let’s keep it simple. First of all, you always want to be sure you have the dates correct for your prospective reservation at the correct hotel. In other words, have the basic information spelled out correctly before you even start. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often people will try booking a hotel room with faulty information.

You also want to be sure to try & book early. Even though this may not always be possible, it does help get things off your mind faster than waiting until the last-minute before booking. You also avoid issues of not having a room to reserve because of something on the calendar that is bringing people into town. An example would be trying to book a hotel near the beach during Spring Break season.

It pays to think about how you book so that you can avoid having to contend with overbooking, time crunches, and heavy travel windows. For example, if you are traveling on the weekend, try to book a room at a hotel that tends to have a leaning toward business bookings. In the same vein, if you’re traveling during the week, like to stay in a hotel that has more of a ‘resort’ feel to it. This way, you’re always trying to travel opposite of the general travel traffic.

Finally, here is some input regarding the online & discount booking apps & websites – it can go either way. You can actually save some serious money booking online in some way, but you may open yourself to being booked at a mystery hotel whose identity isn’t known until after the reservation is made. In some cases, you also have to act quickly to take advantage of hotel reservation deals in order to get the pricing, which you may not be in a position to do right away. It’s also important to know about being “walked” by a hotel. Getting “walked” means that if a hotel can’t fill your reservation, it will pay for a night elsewhere. Hotels overbook assuming that there will be “no shows”. Depending on how & when you book, your indirect/third-party booking leaves you as a low priority, and if you’re unlucky enough to have booked at a hotel where everyone showed up, you will be “walked”.

Surprisingly enough, booking hotel reservations directly with a hotel over the phone or through their own website is the best way to book in many cases & provides the most perks. Whether through loyalty programs, flexibility in price negotiation, or being a frequent guest, connecting the old-fashioned way seems to be the best bet for handling your travel lodging.

Effective Ways to Save Money on Hotel Booking

In today’s era when everything has become globally expanded and worldwide organizations are running an extra mile to serve communities across the earth, traveling have become more important than ever. Hence, people have started to consider voyaging as a daily part of life to either solve the business purposes or to have a break from all the stress. In both cases, finding an accommodation that can suit your requirements, budget and timing has become a major crisis and you all must be wondering on how to save those extra bucks on accommodation while traveling to an unknown place. To answer that question, this article has come up with the most amazing ideas after consulting the expert travelers and researching through the market to give you a final conclusion of effective ways to save money while booking a hotel. So, check out the list below and make your escapes much more affordable and enjoyable at the same time:

1. Timing is the Key

No matter what you do, the perfect timing covers the half way towards your success and when you are planning a vacation, it is really important as you might get caught-up in either hefty demand or a time when everything is closed. It is always important to keep on looking for the deals months before to ensure you get the perfect prices as per your season or take the chance for making a last minute search to get the cancelled rooms at an affordable price. Also, by perfect timing, we mean to plan your vacation in the season that is neither on the peak, nor on the off when we speak of tourism and ensure you get it all with perfect weather conditions, less demand and more fun.

2. Comparing for Best Deals

Most of the people these days go for the giant agencies or the trusted agents to get their bookings done and mostly end-up paying more for putting their trust in wrong hands. It is often advised by the expert travelers to always compare the prices between travel agencies and hotel groups to find the best quote and get the bookings done after finding what is best suitable for your trip. There are an abundant number of reputed as well as start-up travel agencies that allow you to book your hotel accommodation on seasonal sale, special discount and other offers exclusively available in the market to outshine others and give you a dream getaway you always wanted.

3. Looking for Less Prominent Locations

Hotel accommodations located near the prominent sites and attractions are costlier than the hotels and resorts located in other parts of the city. Whereas the prominent locality may give you the edge of exploring the attractions with a few blocks of walking, the hotels located farther are willing to offer you more at lower prices to get your attention as well as to give you the finest quality of stays. Hotels near the biggest landmarks and prime localities are often found packed throughout the seasons and require advance booking procedure which also pays a big contribution in higher prices. If you book your hotel room in places that are a little away from these major sites and are located at less prominent places, you will surely find some quality accommodation at lower plans.

4. Use of Memberships

While paying or at the time of booking, we often forget to take other sources into account which can be more beneficial for us and often miss the opportunity to save a little extra while booking a hotel stay. These days, when organization is racing to get your attention and business from you, they also give you some privilege of getting cash-backs, discounts and other perks and leverages while using their special and exclusive membership options. Many banks and card companies these days give some special offers while collaborating with the travel agencies and give some cash-back as well as discounts on transaction of a certain minimum amount. Usage of these offers can also give you some extra benefits to ensure some more savings on the hotel booking.

5. Find what you Actually Require

In the hunger of finding the best accommodation option, we often lean towards finding hotel deals that provide it all and often pay more for services and amenities that we don’t really required. Before making your hotel booking with B&B, All Inclusive and half-board options, always sort your requirements and think accordingly whether you will be needing those services or not. It is quite obvious that the more services you add on your hotel room, the more you are going to pay. Hence, always book for the things you require and try to avoid those services that you might use and can get them if required as an add-on.

Whenever you plan a holiday for yourself or with friends, you can come up with many more options such as finding hostels, couch surfing (not for every destination), finding a person you know and more, yet these concepts are not worthy when you are either on an executive trip or on a holiday with your family or loved ones. So, if you have been thinking for going on your next vacation and taking a step back on your decision after watching hefty hotel prices, then all you need now is to effectively go through these points and consider them all before making your hotel booking to save a good fortune. However, if you have been thinking to save a little extra, you can always search for some seasonal offers on flights as well.

What Facilities and Services to Look for When Booking a Hotel

When it comes to booking a hotel room whether for one night or a few nights, you may want to ensure that they have certain facilities and services that will make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable. Not all hotels offer the same facilities and services and they don’t always offer the same level of service, so you will want to take a close look to ensure that you are going to get what you expect to make your stay enjoyable and memorable.

One of the many things that some people want to find when staying at a hotel is an on-site wellness centre. Somewhere where they can be pampered, a place where they can enjoy a host of quality treatments by top therapists to make their stay that bit more special. Whether it’s a soothing facial or a relaxing massage, having a wellness centre on-site can provide guests with a chance to indulge and relax, to feel rejuvenated after their stay.

Another thing that many people look for when booking a hotel for a night or two is a gym. While on vacation or traveling for business, many people still enjoy their daily workout and having access to a gym where you can get your half and hour or hour of exercise may be important to you. Look at the hotel and the services they provide, identify if they can provide you with either an on-site gym or free access to a nearby gym, so that you can enjoy the benefits the gym provides while away from home.

Next ensure that they have an on-site restaurant. While being away from home is a time to try new places, sometimes having a meal in the restaurant at the hotel is more convenient, especially after a long day of meetings or sightseeing. If you are meeting friends, see if they have a lounge bar as well, somewhere where you can have breakfast, lunch and an evening meal, maybe with some well-deserved after dinner cocktails as an added benefit.

Does the hotel provide you with free Wi-Fi access during your stay. Most hotels these days will give you access to the internet. This just enables you to complete any work you need to do or to stay in contact with family and friends, updating your Facebook page so friends can see where you are and what you are up to. Having internet at your fingertips ensures that you have a technological time and that you enjoy the modern conveniences that you have at home.

Make sure the hotel you choose offers a concierge service. A concierge service can be a great benefit when away from home. This service is run by an experienced team with extensive area knowledge. They can assist you with just about anything from arranging a car hire to finding a good local restaurant to theater bookings and tour bookings. They can make recommendations on what to see and do during your stay to ensure you get the most of your experience.

The final things to look for, especially when traveling on business is whether they offer any function facilities and if so, what do they provide. If you are in town on business and you intend having a number of meetings, then you may want to take a closer look at the meeting room facilities in the hotel. Can they accommodate you to hold meetings at the hotel, maybe along with breakfast or tea and coffee, so that you can have your meetings with ease and without interruption.

Top Reasons Why You Should Travel To Iceland With Kids

In the world of travel destinations, Iceland occupies a unique position. It has a landscape like no other with a delightful mix of active volcanoes, erupting geysers, hot geothermal springs, some wonderful beaches and also caves.

It is also the land of fairies, dwarfs and elves. Iceland fires up the imagination and makes it the perfect place for a vacation with kids in summer.

Why Iceland and Kids? The answers are not hard to find.

• When one plans to visit with kids it is best to join one of the family tours in Iceland where the tour operator offers a private 4×4 vehicle with large wheels and spacious interiors. One can undertake the golden circle trip in comfort and if the kids feel like falling asleep, there is ample space.

• However, it is the attractions of Iceland that will keep kids wide awake. One such is the presence of geysers across the country. The Strokkur geyser erupts with clockwork regularity and for kids, this is a novel sight. It is safe to get close to the geyser and kids love it.

• Watching a geyser is one thing but luxuriating in the warm waters of geothermal springs is another. The Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik is like a hot tub bath and kids will love cavorting in the waters, exploring the waterfalls and caves.

• Talking of caves and grottoes, Iceland has them in plenty and one will come across such ice caves and lava tubes while on the Golden Circle tour. Exploring caves and grottoes is perfect for kids who always have fantastic imaginations.

• Then, for a bit of fun, kids can go snowmobiling on the Langjokull glacier. The Gullfoss Falls present another experience and kids simply love to be under and behind a waterfall and romp about as they are exposed to water sprays.

• Iceland can be a voyage of discovery. It is the land of volcanic rocks, ice caves and the place where two continents meet under the sea. Along with fun kids learn geography in a hands-on way.

• Kids are safe. You can sit back and have a drink and your kids may wonder about but there is no need to worry. Crime is low and people around are always helpful and watchful over kids. Even restaurants go out of their way to have “kid-friendly” menus.

• Invariably the talk will get around to fairies, dwarfs and elves. People here believe in them and some might even tell your kids interesting tales about local elves or dwarfs. For kids,this is an added element of mystery and excitement. Who knows? They may come across one.

• Then there is the grand spectacle in the sky: the Northern Lights. Plan the trip outside Reykjavik or farther North just right with the help of local tour operator and one can get to view this stupendous sight. It will certainly result in dropped jaws and eyes popping. One may find it difficult to tear the kid away from the spot.

• Kids and food go together. There is the standard fare by way of burgers and sandwiches but there is also a chance to sample Iceland’s unique cuisines, some of them simply lip-smacking enough for kids to want to gorge on them.

The days are long in summer and it may be difficult to get the kid to go to sleep. Iceland is a lure hard to resist and just right for a family vacation with kids.

Traveling Is A Way Of Attaining Peace FOR The Soul

Travelling is a thrilling experience for a lot of people. It gives them the adrenaline rush they are looking for and makes them exhilarated about all that is related to travelling. The travelling lust is quite hard to resist and there are people who cross all limits of fulfilling all the wishes and desires that they hold for travelling in their hearts.

It can turn out to be an amazing experience only if one plans it perfectly and takes care of all the little to do things that should be taken care of while travelling. It is a joyous ride and it can turn out to be really amazing.

Let us have a look at some of the tips you need to know for travelling:

• MAKE A PROPER LIST

Always have a list of everything that you would be needing and pack accordingly. A list will help you remember everything that needs to be packed and you will not forget anything in the last moment. So keep everything in your mind so that everything is kept in your mind and you know exactly what all you will need while you are on the road.

• LEARN THE COMMON TONGUE OF THE PLACE

This always helps no matter where you are travelling to. If you know few of the common phrases of that place in their mother tongue it always makes it much easier to travel and makes it much more convenient as well. Therefore try to take out some time and learn just few of the common phrases that people mostly use their so the conversing gets easier.

• DON’T FORGET THE EXTRA CAMERA BATTERY

Camera is one of the most important things to carry when you are travelling. You would obviously want to take a lot of snaps of every place you visit and capture all your memories in those photographs, therefore do not forget to carry that extra camera battery just in case of an emergency. You never know when your camera might run out of its battery due to constant usage; therefore it is always safe to carry an extra pack.

• KEEP YOUR ROOM NUMBER AND HOTEL ADDRESS NEAR TO YOU

This is just in case you have to refer to it suddenly or you get stranded and you need to ask for directions. Keep these two pieces of information handy so that you can use it whenever necessary. It is for your own good and safety, therefore just be alert while you are travelling and keep the important tips on mind. This is absolutely necessary to make your trip a successful one.

Solo Travel – 10 Ways to Save on Single Supplements

In your school days, you may have found, as I did, that economics really is the “dismal science”. However, I did learn one key fact. Supply and demand drive prices. For solo travel, the surcharge or “single supplement” does vary partly in keeping with this tried and true rule. The good news? If you prowl through the Internet, you can find ways to save on solo travel when demand is down. The bad news? Reduced or no single supplement offerings are limited in number and go fast.

Here are 10 ways to save.

1. Don’t ask for one room. Ask for a “room for one’. In Europe, lodging is often sold with solo pricing. Be sure to see if it is a solo price for a standard room or a small single room. Look at the size offered for single occupants. Then consider the amount of time you will spend in your room. I often take 10-12 hour day trips abroad with almost no time spent in my hotel room except to catch some sleep before heading out again.

2. Get there first. Book even one year ahead since few slots are reduced for solos. This is really important if you go in-season. Holiday resorts and hot spots in summer may have return visitors book the next year when they check out.

3. Head to the airport when everyone else is heading home. Off-season travel is the best way to get immediate 50% off reductions. In the south of France, rates go down as fast as Sept 9. Ski resorts, like the fabled Sun Valley Lodge, have specials just before Christmas. In winter and spring, European discounts can be half-price as well.

4. Get excited about rainy weather or extreme heat and cold. You will have to think how far you want to take this. I had a thrilling short term work trip one Jan. in Siberia. I also went on tour in India during the monsoons. In some cases, the negative pronouncements may not impact your trip. A good example? The risk of hurricanes each fall is less likely to touch the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) making for better pricing. In Africa, for example, safari rates are lower during the rainy or “green” season if you can get away, and don’t mind the possibility of short, heavy rains.

5. Look for new travel providers. Hotels that are just opening or reopening after renovations have specials to gain or regain market share. The Hotel Castille in Paris, for example, had short-term deep discounts when it reopened just steps from fashionable boutiques. Thereafter, the rates increased in keeping with other high-end small hotels

6. Be a contrarian. Don’t pay a premium for what’s currently trending. Prowl the Internet for undervalued regions. If it is all the rage, prices will soar. In the 1980’s, I somehow found a Montenegro resort right off the Albanian border. Since then, Sveti Stefan, where I stayed, has been updated as reflected in its 5 star pricing. The moral of the story is get there before the crowds discover a destination.

7. If you can’t pronounce it or spell it, you’ll love the prices! Substitute the road less traveled. If you have a dream to see the Parthenon you must go to Greece. (That is unless you live in North America and would like to see a perfect replica in Nashville, Tenn.!) Regional air carriers are a good way to find out great largely undiscovered places at low prices. One example: I dreamed of Tahiti in my early post-graduate days. When rates were high there, Air New Zealand suggested alternatives: Rarotonga and Aitutaki. I took them up on it and had the trip of a life time dining out on the stories for years.

8. Scour the Internet for national and regional programs offered by tourist boards. Check ahead as they may only be available abroad. One of the best deals I found in the 1990’s was with then “Lan Chile”. From the US, I purchased three stand-by tickets for a total of $200 to go anywhere in the country. At that price, I made my way to Antarctica Chile, at the end of the world!

9. Use flexible dates to grab week-day deals. Hotels and airline rates often go up and down together. Why is that? That takes us back to supply and demand. When planes and hotels have low load factors, prices are softer.

10. Share to save. Look for tours that have no single supplements by agreeing to share. The benefit to this approach? It is a way to save if your travel dates are not flexible, and no to low single supplement deals are not available.

In any case, before you give up on fitting solo travel into your budget, look at these options.

Rabat Must Visit Places on Holidays

The Villa des Arts in Rabat (as in Casablanca) is the result of corporate sponsorship through the foundation of the ONA Group. The latter (Omnium Nord Africain) is the first Moroccan private industrial and financial group formed as a holding company.

The Villa des Arts in Rabat aims to be a space for the discovery and promotion of contemporary arts with a permanent reference to Moroccan culture and heritage.

Located in the Hassan district near the As Sounna mosque, in a magnificent neo-colonial style house of the 1930s where you can admire the architecture, inside a superbly flowered and beautifully wooded park, Villa des Arts will attract you and make you feel that you are in one of the most pleasant places of Rabat with a halt freshness and culture at the same time. The entrance is free and you can easily move around by simply respecting this place dedicated to modern art in all its forms by selecting Morocco holiday packages.

The Villa des Arts is not a museum or even a gallery of exhibitions, but a cultural place that is divided into several spaces: in the main building, the Villa du Parc, the Carré d’art (the Futuroscope of the creators) The Al Borj space of concrete and glass that evokes the nearby Hassan Tower and will recall the BNRM, Al Qantara the bridge between cultures, multipurpose room for conferences, screenings and exhibitions, small theater which allows The performances of small lyrical, poetic and musical performances as well as open-air conferences, the Diwan space of permanent or itinerant exhibitions, retrospectives of eminent artists and the Gallery on the courtyard for emerging artists.

Upstairs the library and the media library shelter the places of research and exchange between students, researchers, historians and artists. The multimedia library is dedicated to students and researchers with the access to a selection of databases or sites in the fields of arts and culture.

Finally, the virtual museum hosts performances allowing the visitor to create the show from their own imaginary. The Village des Artistes, hosting the workshops of prestigious artists such as Chaïbia, Kacimi, Gharbaoui, and Cherkaoui, offers artists the opportunity to express, realize, make discover, transmit, and make understand the act Creation.

The Villa des Arts is a place that will make you fall in love with its artistic work and cultural hertitage and it’s a must visit site if you are in Rabat. Here are the names of the artists who have already exhibited at the Villa of Arts in Rabat: Maika Agueznay, Ahmed Mjidaoui, Dia Azzawi, Mohammed Melehi, Abdellah Sadouk, Mohammed Chabaa, Adlellatif Lasri, Milou Labied, Anissa Berrada.

Marina Bouregreg of Rabat-Salé:

At the entrance of Salé, along with the old Moulay Hassan Bridge and a few meters from the prestigious gate of Bab Lemrissa, Marina Bouregreg offers, over a 4-hectare lake, 240 moorings on floating pontoons, Sailing less than 30 meters and a maximum draft of 3 meters.

The construction site started in 2006 but the Marina was not able to really open in good conditions to foreign boaters until early 2009.

Backed by the future city of the Arts and the hotel complex that have not yet seen the light of day, the Marina Bouregreg welcomes the visitors in an excellent way. Some boaters may go particularly towards the Canary Islands because it is located half- Distance from European coasts in Morocco hotels & resorts.

In the evenings or on Sundays, the terraces of the cafes and restaurants along the docks towards the delight of the Rabat and Slaouis (the most affluent ones) where people come there willingly to take a refreshment while dreaming a little.

The other less fortunate people simply hang out when the overzealous security guards let them in, as these people often do their job with a hint of brutality confusing pleasure port and military port.